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Ormskirk Guitar prodigy hits the right note

Ciaran Gaffney, 10,  is one of the youngest in the country to achieve grade eight

Ciaran Gaffney with guitar teacher Paul Glover

It's a level of excellence most aspiring guitarists can only dream of – achieving the highest guitar grade.

But for Ciaran Gaffney, from Ormskirk, it was a walk in the park, as the 10-year-old is one of the youngest people in the country to achieve Grade Eight in electric guitar.

Musically gifted Ciaran, who attends primary school in Skelmersdale, first picked up the instrument two years ago when he was bought an acoustic guitar for Christmas. 

And now the young axeman is quickly becoming a YouTube sensation, boasting hundreds of hits on videos he has posted of himself performing in his living room.

Multi-talented Ciaran, who is now also learning to play the drums, said he is aiming to play in a band that are as big as his idols – the Foo Fighters.

He said: “I'm really happy I've passed the exam, I worked really hard for it and I'm very pleased to have got a merit.

“I'd really love to be in a band that's as big as the Foo Fighters – they're my favourite band.”

Pupils sitting Rock School exams are encouraged to start from Grade One, but Ciaran was entered for the highest grade of the qualification.

Guitar tutor, Paul Glover, 38, of Paul Glover Guitar Techniques, said: “First time I met him, he was already playing Johnnie Be Good.

“I immediately knew he had talent.

“His progression was awesome during lessons, so I put him in for the Grade Eight exam straight away.

“It was a challenge for me, because I had to think of a way to encourage an eight-year-old to think like a guitarist at that level.

“I wasn't expecting him to pick it up, but he's such a driven kid, he's amazing.”

Proud mum Kristine Gaffney, 35,  said: “He's only been playing for about two years, but he was a natural, he just picked it up really quickly.

“He needed 65% to pass, but he ended up getting 88%, which is a merit.

“He was delighted that he passed the exam, but he was quite cool about it.

“Ciaran's dad plays guitar as a hobby, but now Ciaran is teaching him to play better.”

Ciaran also  attends a weekly programme called Jamm Factory, at Jam Studios in St Helens, where young musicians perform and practise together.